Dillard's Inc. 3Q Profit Up 79 Percent, Same-Store Sales Up 5 Percent

Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock on Thursday reported third quarter net income that, excluding one-time items, rose 79 percent from the same quarter last year.

The department store chain (NYSE: DDS) also said same-store sales rose 5 percent during the quarter. Cash flow from operations of rose 62 percent to $219.9 million. And merchandise gross margin improved by 40 basis points of sales, the company said.

"Driven by a strong 5 percent sales increase, we were able to double our earnings per share for the third quarter on top of a record performance last year (after non-routine items)," Dillard's CEO William T. Dillard II said in a news release. 

"We are pleased with our gross margin improvement and expense control during the quarter as well as with our ending inventory level. We are entering the holiday season confidently based on these strong results and we look forward to serving our customers at the highest possible level in the coming weeks."

During the quarter, the company closed one store, an 85,000-SF location in Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights, Va.

Excluding one-time items that included the sale of two former retail locations and a tax benefit, Dillard's reported $46.1 million, or 96 cents per share, in third-quarter net income. That's up 79 percent from the net income of $25.7 million, or 48 cents per share, the company reported during the same quarter last year, which also excluded one-time items.

Dillard's said that "excluding all non-routine items," quarterly earnings per share increased 100 percent from the same quarter last year.

Total quarterly sales rose 5 percent to $1.45 billion. Excluding sales include of the company's construction business, CDI Contractors LLC, total merchandise sales were $1.425 billion, up 4 percent for the quarter.

Dillard's sale merchandise sales trends were strongest in men's apparel and accessories, ladies accessories and lingerie and shoes. Home and furniture was the weakest performing category. Sales trends were strongest in the company's central region, followed by the western and eastern regions, respectively.

Dillard's operates 284 stores and 18 clearance centers in 29 states. Total square footage as of  Oct. 27 was 52.3 million.